Ensuring pollen data aren't gone with the wind

In this article we take a behind-the-scenes look at a group of Australian ecosystem scientists struggling with real-life problems of data management – a story that has a happy ending, thanks to data infrastructure provided through TERN.

The Australian aerobiology working group convened through TERN’s ACEAS facility in 2013 sought to collate and analyse historical published and unpublished pollen count data from different regions of Australia and New Zealand. Their intent was to use this synthesised dataset to investigate a number of important questions, including how “pollen rain” changes with urbanisation and other changes in land use, and the likely impacts of climate change on seasonal peaks in allergenic pollen production.

The dataset would provide the platform for establishment of a national pollen monitoring program, to assist with management of patients with allergic respiratory diseases such as hay fever and asthma triggered by airborne pollens.

“Of course, we knew this was going to be a challenging project,” commented Dr Janet Davies of the University of Queensland, Principal Investigator for the group. “But we felt the benefits of this multidisciplinary collaboration – involving medical professionals, botanists, and climate change modellers, among others – would make the challenges worthwhile.”

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